PP-2007-35: The Pragmatics of Biscuit Conditionals

PP-2007-35: Franke, Michael (2007) The Pragmatics of Biscuit Conditionals. [Report]

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Abstract

Biscuit conditionals (BCs) are certain non-standard conditionals named after Austin's famous example: ``There are biscuits on the sideboard, if you want them.'' Although conditional constructions on the surface, BCs lack the standard reading of conditionals: it is commonly held that the IF-clause of a BC does not restrict the truth of the consequent, but rather the relevance or felicity of an assertion thereof. This paper seeks to explain the peculiarities in meaning and use of BCs pragmatically, based on a standard semantics for conditional sentences. This is in opposition to the bulk of writers on the subject and the very recent account of Siegel (2006). The main contributions of this paper are: (i) a formalization of a notion of propositional independence with which the non-conditional meanings of BCs can be accounted for in an update semantics for conditionals and (ii) a more refined perspective on the function of BCs in discourse not as relevance hedgers, but as means to facilitate interpretation; a perspective made plausible by an explicit representation of the common ground as a common belief structure.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: PP-2007-35
Series Name: Prepublication (PP) Series
Year: 2007
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conditionals; Pragmatics; Independence
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/269

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